At long last, Pokemon’s fourth generation is being remade for the Nintendo Switch under the guise of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. But like with the remakes prior, it’s pulling from that director’s cut, the third installment – in this case, Platinum. But forget obscure NPCs and the odd Pokemon here and there, an entire level needs to come with these remakes – the Distortion World.
For context, when you finally reach the Spear Pillar at the tippity top of Mt. Coronet, Giritina swoops in to stop Cyrus and their evil plot, and the player must follow them into the Distortion World where Giritina takes their true form. You can catch them here, adding Platinum’s flagship legendary to your pack of Pokemon.
The Distortion World is a mess of platforms all facing different directions with a beautiful blue, swirling backdrop. It’s like no other place in Pokemon, with an aura to it only akin to somewhere like Lavender Town, albeit while acting as a much more trippy and outlandish locale. Giratina, in the other two games, is found in a cave. Sure, that’s cool? At least, it was, but why bother with a bland old brown spelunker’s dive when you could bring forth the fantastical magic of this dimension where everything is turned on its head? What’s more, in brand new visual fidelity.
The music is unnerving, with a feel not only that you’ve crossed into parts unknown, a dimension you should not be in, but it also has that feel of a glitch. It’s like an unnerving sense of not belonging even in the context of being the player. Like with Lavender Town, there’s something eerily distinct in the Distortion World’s very being – it’s so out of place in an otherwise cheery, over-the-top game, and it certainly sent shivers down my spine as a kid. It’s not as infamous as Lavender Town which spawned creepypastas, urban legends, and even made its way to Japanese television as murmurs of kid’s being harmed through the music escalated. But, the Distortion World does have that unsettling air to it, and it added so much atmosphere and diversity to the palette of Platinum, more so than the cave ever could in Diamond and Pearl.
It took full advantage of the hardware of the DS, marking the fourth-gen as a significant leap over its predecessors, far more than Diamond and Pearl did. It felt new because of this jump forward in potential with side-way sprites and upside-down pathways. It also contextualized Giratina in a way that a drab cave never quite could. Their grandiose presence didn’t feel as imposing or earned in that location but in this other dimension? Suddenly, it clicked. The trainer who left home only recently on an adventure to be the best trainer was now exploring the worlds their professor could only dream of and that’s what Pokemon excels at – taking us to exciting new places and on awe-inspiring adventures.
It would be a shame for this hugely different element of Platinum to be absconded from the remakes. It’s perhaps one of the best ways to catch a legendary in the franchise to date, and if Giratina is to return in all their glory, why not show off this remake’s visual prowess, adorable chibi art style, and stunning lighting through something so vastly different?
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Cheerio! That’s what everyone thinks Brits say, right? James is a Newcastle University student from, funnily enough, Newcastle, England. He’s been gaming for as long as he can remember, from Half-Life to Thomas the Tank Engine.
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